The Farmers’ Union of Wales said such products were incomparable, suggesting the move would only lead to ‘detrimental and far-reaching implications’ for the Welsh dairy sector.
Extending the tax levy on sugary soft drinks to all milk-based drinks could negatively affect the way consumers perceive dairy, industry chiefs warned.
The Farmers Union of Wales (FUW) hit back at Government plans to refresh the 2016 Commons Health Committee Childhood Obesity Plan and extend the tax levy as ‘a matter of urgency’.
It said such products were incomparable, suggesting the move would only lead to ‘detrimental and far-reaching implications’ for the Welsh dairy sector.
Dai Miles, FUW milk and dairy produce chairman, said: “Milk and dairy products contain vitamins and minerals essential for health and well-being, including calcium, iodine, riboflavin and vitamin B12.
“It is the belief of the FUW the nutrient profiling modelling undertaken has done a tremendous disservice to nutritional milk products and could detrimentally affect the ways in which such products are viewed by the consumer.”
Dairy UK chief executive Dr Judith Bryans agreed it was unfortunate dairy products had been ‘penalised alongside junk foods’ and called for the exemption of milk-based drinks from the committee recommendations.
She said if the extension was to go ahead it would have a detrimental impact on the marketing of ‘high quality, safe and nutritious dairy products’.
“Dairy UK will be engaging with Public Health England, the UK Government and other relevant stakeholders to explain why the new nutrient profile modelling should exclude any product containing more than 75 per cent milk, cheese or yoghurt, on the basis of the contributions they make to children’s nutrient intakes and the benefits they provide,” Dr Bryans said.
Livestock sustainability consultant Dr Jude Capper said enforcing the tax extension could push consumers to buy cheaper drinks, increasing already negative consequences for the industry.
Previous research from the US has proven drinking full-fat milk reduces the risk of obesity in pre-school children, she added.
“It is increasingly important for everyone involved in dairy production to promote the many advantages of milk and dairy products for nutrition and health. We cannot simply sit back and hope somebody else will do it.”